Our Contact Info:

eQuip Books
1001 Franklin Ave
Aliquippa, PA 15001

Phone: 724.788.1747
Email: books@equipbookstore.com

Store Hours

Mon-Fri         9:00AM - 4:00PM

 

 



Demo

Our Mission

At eQuip Books we like to refer to ourselves as a business with a conscience. Like any responsible business, we are committed to offering products and services that can be sold to our customers for a profit. But, making a profit isn’t our only goal. And it is definitely not the most important thing we do.

Lots of times, when people think about businesses, they think of them as greedy, impersonal, and only interested in making money. At eQuip Books we are convinced that not all businesses need to be this way. In fact, we think that thoughtful and responsible entrepreneurship can be a powerful force for community development, social change, and personal growth.

At their best, businesses can contribute a sense of purpose and motivation to a community. Responsible businesses can generate a shared identity among their employees, can motivate people to seek self-betterment and education, and can attract new voices to a city. When a community is impoverished, it’s never only the result of lacking economic resources. The truly impoverished community is one that is void of opportunities and connections, experiences and education, purpose and hope.

For a number of years, economic hardship and a lack of dignified work have severely challenged many communities in the western Pennsylvania region. The city of Aliquippa has experienced these challenges first hand over the course of the last several generations. Along with the closing of the steel mills came a steady and widespread rise in unemployment. Along the way, Aliquippa didn’t only lose jobs. It also lost many of the intangible benefits that responsible businesses help to create in a healthy community.

As a self-proclaimed business with a conscience, we have intentionally built socially responsible practices into everything we do. This starts by ensuring that our retail store provides a valuable service to the community. We do this through the quality and scope of products we offer and through the programming and community efforts sponsored by eQuip Books. We also seek to be socially responsible by deliberately creating work opportunities that can be used as sites of training and mentoring. Sure, we want excellent employees and a careful execution of our business objectives, but we are also willing to allow the job site to be a place where learning and growing can occur.

Central to our mission is our focus on empowering local youth. This is why we place such a strong emphasis on our Youth Employment Initiative. By targeting local residents in the 16-25 year old range, we seek to provide employment, training, and mentoring in the critical years between youth and adulthood. In partnership with long-existing non-profit organizations, we are able to identify young men and women who demonstrate potential and promise if given the opportunity to learn and develop skills in a nurturing environment. It is our belief that everyone possesses an innate desire for meaningful work. It is our goal to help local youth identify and cultivate this desire during their time as employees of eQuip Books.

We hope that by fostering this kind of environment, we can offer employment that becomes more than just a way of making money and paying the bills. Ultimately, we want our employees’ abilities and aspirations to exceed the scope of our operations. At eQuip Books we count it as a success when one of our employees leaves to pursue another job or additional education. This is our goal: not just to create jobs, but to create meaningful work that empowers our employees to make informed and deliberate career and life choices.



Our History

The story of eQuip Books began in the fall of 2008 when Daniel Rossi-Keen posted a handful of books for sale from his personal library. Much to his surprise, the items sold quickly and for a very nice profit. Only a few short weeks after posting the first round of items for sale, Daniel was already starting to think about how he could start a business selling books. Although a full-time university professor at the time, Daniel devoted himself to learning the basics of online commerce and the various technologies used by this growing industry.

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Our Building

In the spring of 2012, efforts were undertaken to find a location to house the growing business operations of eQuip Books. After considering a handful of storefronts in Aliquippa, a multi-year lease was signed for the building located at 1001 Franklin Avenue. The storefront, which served as an auto parts store for many years, was in need of considerable renovations. Beginning in November of 2012, a small team of volunteers started working alongside a handful of youth from the community. Thanks to several modest grants, eQuip Books was able to involve nearly a dozen local youth in the building renovation process.

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Why We Opened a Bookstore

Early on in our deliberations about the suitability of establishing a business on Franklin Avenue, it became evident that the book industry provided particular advantages over many other kinds of businesses that one could envision for Aliquippa. It goes almost without saying that not just any kind of business can succeed in the current downtown retail environment found in Aliquippa. Reflecting both on our intended mission of promoting meaningful work and on the necessary requirement of modest financial success, we generated the following list of requirements that our core product and our basic business operations needed to satisfy.

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The City of Aliquippa

The history of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania offers profound insight into the daunting challenges facing many American industrial centers in an increasingly post-industrial age. As a city whose identity emerged as American industry was reaching its heights, Aliquippa once stood as an exemplar of American ingenuity and productivity that was born out of tenacity and the will to work. As the will to work was met with growing opportunities provided by the steel industry, Aliquippa flourished. In the J&L Steel plant alone, some 13,000 jobs were at one time made available to the 30,000 residents of the community. As jobs flourished, so too did the life of the city, bringing with it a vibrant economy and cultural life centered around Franklin Avenue. Ironically, the very same forces that produced Aliquippa’s thriving economic and cultural boom simultaneously established the preconditions for its dramatic decline. As the steel industry prospered, there seemed little need to look ahead and to prepare for a world in which American industrial might would find its ways to distant shores. Although life in Aliquippa was not without economic struggle, the rise and growth of the steel industry served as a long-standing force of economic stability. With steel in Aliquippa, there was substance behind the region’s identity, its strengths and its future. As this identity was dramatically stripped from the area, far more than an economic void remained to be filled. The work provided by steel and its supporting industries provided an important cultural narrative, a kind of collective identity that helped to unify people, that provided a ready-made set of social structures and expectations, and that offered numerous opportunities for meaningful and rewarding work.

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Our Business Model

In traditional retail environments, companies regularly rely on relationships with suppliers who provide a specified type and quantity of products. In such instances, the retail establishment can carefully manage its acquisition of saleable products and can therefore quickly adapt its purchasing in response to shifting consumer demands. The inventory acquisition strategy employed by eQuip Collaborative differs in significant ways from this model of retail inventory acquisition.

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Online Division

More than either of the other two subsidiaries, eQuip Online will be responsible for making eQuip Collaborative a financially solvent corporation. Committed to delivering local products to a global community, eQuip Online will be the first destination for all inventory coming into our possession. Whether acquired through the recycling services provided by eQuip Exchange or through the buyback services offered through the eQuip Village Bookstore, all inventory items will first be vetted using state of the art software customized for our specific business needs. Items meeting our minimum qualifications will be retained for processing, cataloging, and listing in our active inventory database. After items are entered into our inventory, they will be shelved and retained until sold, at which time they will be located, pulled from the shelves, prepped for shipping, and packaged for delivery to the customer.

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Community Partnerships

As a business committed to fostering urban revitalization in Aliquippa, we intend to work closely with existing organizations who are guided by missions that are complementary to our own. Over time, our intent is to engage in wider and richer associations within the community, thereby extending the scope of the “collaborative” referenced in our corporate name. As a result of this commitment, eQuip Collaborative will become increasingly involved with long-standing non-profit organizations operating in Aliquippa.

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Responsible Stewardship

One immediate and obvious consequence of our corporate mission is that we must function as leanly and wisely as we possibly can. Like many non-profit entities, eQuip Collaborative is always seeking ways to maximize resources, minimize unnecessary costs, and enhance efficiency where doing so can be done in reasonable and humane ways. Even as we enact such efforts, however, we are often simultaneously making decisions that may appear counterintuitive to the casual observer. Conventional business wisdom insists that a company should invest the minimal amount of resources necessary to accomplish a given task. Hiring employees, according to such thinking, should be a process intent upon finding the most prepared, efficient, and productive individuals available for a given position. Similarly, business related tasks ought to be stripped of any unnecessary steps, automated whenever possible, and done in ever more efficiently ways. And, of course, all business growth should be guided by the impulse to minimize expense and maximize profitability.

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eQuip Books
1001 Franklin Ave
Aliquippa, PA 15001

Phone: 724.788.1747
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Daniel Rossi-Keen

It's good to see I have my 1st follower-reverend jr himself. I now feel important.

by Daniel Rossi-Keen